LITELOK Silver Review: Lighter again!
|LITELOK Silver Summary|
|Weight:||1.6 lb (0.73 kg)|
|Length:||27.6" (70 cm)|
|Width:||1.4" (3.5 cm)|
The guys behind the lightest high security bike lock are back with what they claim is the lightest medium security lock. It’s the same basic idea, but lighter (and obviously less secure).
But the LITELOK Silver isn’t just a thinner version of the LITELOK Gold. The team have changed quite a few fundamental elements to create a very different bike locking experience.
So let’s have a look at what and how they’ve done. In this review, as always, first I’ll look at how secure the LITELOK Silver is, then at how easy it is to carry and use. And finally I’ll suggest some alternatives in case it’s not the right lock for you.
How secure is it?
The LITELOK Silver is made from the same “Boaflexicore” (which apparently consists of a high tensile steel and polymer composite) as the Gold version. There’s just less of it. So it’s less secure.
Sold Secure and ART are the biggest independent lock testing organisations around and whilst they’re not perfect, their ratings provide the best way of comparing the security levels of different locks.
So, as a Silver rated lock, this LITELOK is not one to use in high risk situations. For more information on how to decide if your circumstances are high or lower risk, check out my complete guide to choosing the right bike lock. But essentially: big towns/cities or university campuses, nice bikes and locking periods of over an hour point to higher risk situations.
The LITELOK Silver is much more suited to short stops, less expensive (or desirable) bikes and quieter areas. And as long you meet those requirements, this lock has a lot of other qualities to recommend it…
Is it easy to carry?
Heavy locks are always a pain to carry. It’s not just the weight (although that’s bad enough). It’s also the rigid and unwieldy nature of most traditional bike locks. Combined with the weight, this just makes them a really difficult to carry in a satisfactory way on your bike.
So lighter locks are always going to be a step in the right direction. And weighing just 1.6 lb (0.73 kg) for the 70 cm version (there are other lengths and weights which I’ll discuss below), the LITELOK Silver is the lightest Silver rated lock currently available.
But remember, it’s not just about the weight. It’s also about the shape. The LITELOK Silver is quite different to the Gold version in that it’s natural unlocked shape is very close to its locked shape: circular. This makes it much easier to use (as we’ll see later) but impossible to carry in the same way I carried the Gold version (strapped along my top tube).
All LITELOKs come with two velcro straps that you fasten around your frame with a buckle, and then strap around your lock when you need to transport it.
If you want to carry the LITELOK on your frame, you can put one strap on the top tube and the other on your seat tube and strap the locked LITELOK into the space between the two…
This works OK, but unless you strap it really tightly, it can move about a fair bit when you’re riding. Luckily LITELOK seem to have recognized this drawback and done the logical thing: they’ve made the “belt like” bike lock wearable, just like a real belt!
The simple addition of another velcro a strap on the lock itself allows you to fasten the LITELOK around your waist. And since the unlocked Silver LITELOK naturally forms a circular shape anyway, this works really well. Once it’s on it feels really comfortable and secure: you genuinely forget you’re wearing it.
Of course you run the risk of any oil or water that’s found it’s way onto the lock being transferred to your clothes. But if you’re careful to avoid this (or don’t care!) this is definitely the best way to carry the LITELOK Silver. And I’d go as far as saying that used like this, it’s the easiest lock to carry of any I’ve ever tested.
It’s worth mentioning that all LITELOKs are now available in “wearable” (belt) versions. And I’d highly recommend that if you do choose a LITELOK, it’s the wearable version you go for as I think it’s a big advantage over the standard versions.
Is it easy to use?
While the LITELOK Gold is generally easy to use (once you get used to the stiffness and the wideness), the Silver version makes significant improvements in terms of usability. Some of these are simply because it’s smaller and thinner. But there are design tweaks too.
First of all the locking mechanism is totally different. In the Gold version, a steel bar slots horizontally into a hole. Because you can’t see the hole when you’re locking up, you have to feel around for it with the bar. After a while (through muscle memory), this becomes straightforward.
But the Silver version makes it immediately easier by employing a downward locking motion where the bar is slotted into a cradle. So when you’re locking your bike, you can always see what you’re doing!
More significantly, since the unlocked Gold lock naturally lies straight and is quite stiff, it can be a bit of an effort to force it into a circular shape around your bike when locking up. This effort is too much for some people. Since the Silver version naturally sits in a circular shape when unlocked, getting it around your bike requires no effort at all!
The one slightly tricky aspect of using the Silver lock is threading it through your spokes. Again this issue is more pronounced with the Gold version which is wider. But with both locks there is a knack to this: you simply slide the lock through the spokes while holding it vertically and then twist it round when it’s through. Pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.
Of course one of the advantages of all LITELOKs is that their length and flexibility give you loads of options when you’re looking for somewhere to leave your bike. Whether it’s a standard bike rack or a thick lamppost you’ll be able to get your lock around many more objects than a standard sized u-lock, let alone a (mini) u-lock of comparable weight!
For me the LITELOK Silver was a breeze to use. If you’re carrying it around your waist you can have it off and around your bike and a whole range of immovable objects in a couple of seconds. And that’s what it’s all about.
The LITELOK Silver is available in three different lengths. A 52 cm which weighs 1.4 lb (630 g). The 70 cm version (that I tested) and which weighs 1.6 lb (730 g). And an 85 cm version which weighs 1.8 lb (830 g). You can also join multiple LITELOKS up to make much longer locking circumferences.
The LITELOK Silver is not only the lightest medium security bike lock available today, if you wear it around your waist it’s also one of the easiest to carry. What’s more, the generous circumferences and thoughtful design touches give you loads of locking options and make it easy to use.
It certainly won’t be for everyone though. So if you’re not sure, here are the things I liked and a few I wasn’t so keen on:
+ It’s very light
It’s around 50% lighter than other Sold Secure Silver locks that offer similar internal dimensions. That’s a big weight saving.
+ It’s easy to carry around your waist
If you’re happy wearing the LITELOK around your waist then it’s really easy to get on and off and it’s so light you’ll barely notice it’s there.
+ Loads of locking options
The flexible shape and generous length mean there’ll be lots of places to lock your bike.
– It’s not high security
This is not a lock to use in high risk environments. If you ride in a city, big town or university campus, have a nice bike or leave your bike for periods of time longer than an hour, you should probably consider a Gold rated lock.
– It’s quite expensive
It’s far from the cheapest option. You can find more secure locks for far less money. They just wont be a as light or easy to carry!
The LITELOK Silver does what it says. It offers medium (Sold Secure Silver) levels of protection at an incredibly light weight. It’s super easy to carry (around your waist) and alsovery easy to use.
It’s not a lock for the mean streets of big cities and universities. But it’s a good choice for short trips and less risky areas.
It would make a great cafe stop lock where weight is really important and there are often very few locking options. You could even lock several bikes together in this case. And it’s also worth considering as a very lightweight secondary lock.
Alternatives to the LITELOK Silver
If you decide the LITELOK Silver isn’t for you then don’t worry as there are plenty of alternatives…
Looking for something more secure?
If you like the idea of Silver LITELOK but you’re worried that you need more protection then there is a Sold Secure Gold version.
It’s thicker, stiffer, and not quite as easy to use. But it also comes in a version you can wear around your waist so it’s just as easy to carry around.
And most importantly the extra layers of Boaflexicore will make it significantly more difficult to defeat!
Looking for something cheaper?
If you like the idea of a very light bike lock but don’t want to pay the premium price of the LITELOK Silver then how about the OnGuard Bulldog Mini?
While it doesn’t have a Sold Secure Silver rating, the Standard size version does, so we can assume it offers the same level of protection and that it simply hasn’t been submitted for review (which happens a lot).
It’s usually available for less than a third of the price of the LITELOK Silver and it’s not much heavier. However, it’s a mini u-lock so you get far fewer locking options and it doesn’t usually come with a mounting bracket.
Looking for something easier to carry on your bike?
If you want something similar to the LITELOK but that’s super easy to carry around on your bike frame then the Foldylock Compact is a good choice.
It’s also rated Sold Secure Silver. It’s light, it’s flexible and it’s easy to use. And it comes with a great frame mount that can screw into the water bottle holder holes on your frame (or attach with velcro straps).
Because it folds down to such a compact shape it keeps close to the frame and won’t wobble about or work loose like other locks.
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LITELOK Silver Specs
|LITELOK Silver Summary|
|Weight:||1.6 lb (0.73 kg)|
|Length:||27.6" (70 cm)|
|Width:||1.4" (3.5 cm)|